Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Project #13 Collaboration Report

My group consisted of myself, Alecia Baxter, Victoria Kaplan, and Shannon Watson. I think our group worked really well together and we managed to develop project #15 without a face to face meeting until time to record. Project #16 was also completely finished without a face to face meeting until time to record.

For the most part, we used Google Docs to develop our SMARTboard lesson and to discuss topics for our final project. This worked out as a great way for us to communicate because we were able to all make changes to the document and we were able to express our ideas all in one place. We could see who made changes to the documents and what needed to be improved.

Our group also used e-mails and text messages to communicate. I thought texts were very effective because we could remind each other of something, we could shoot a text quickly, and we could be sure that our group members would receive the message instead of waiting for each other to get to a computer. I think we communicated without face-to-face meetings very effectively. Essentially, we were ready to record when the time had come.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final Project 16

Our group chose to complete a "Dear Abby" style video. The concept was to generate questions that may be commonly asked by an EDM 310 student and also to compose some ridiculous, funny questions. "Agnes" takes the place of "Abby" as an advice columnist to offer help to EDM 310 students. Although we may not be master video editors, we had so much fun creating our movie!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Final Report on PLN

screenshot of PLN
I love my PLN!

Over the course of the semester, I've built up a great Personal Learning Network through Symbaloo by adding websites and blogs that I have acquired knowledge of over the course of a few months. As I mentioned in my PLN Progress Report earlier in the semester, I love the idea of a PLN. I love that all of my "favorites" are in one place and that I can access them at any time I want. Over the last few weeks, my PLN has become so important to me. Almost every time I have an assignment, I go straight to my PLN to brainstorm and gather ideas. Since posting my PLN Progress Report, I've added even more websites that I have either learned about in EDM310, through other classes, or in my own personal browsing. In particular, I like to visit First Grader...At Last and have also added Discovery Education and National Geographic Kids for fun assignments. Recently, I discovered exciting tools to use in the classroom like Blabberize and Story Bird.

To me, my PLN is more than just an assignment for EDM310. Well, a lot of EDM310 assignments are more, to me, than just assignments. They are valuable learning tools that I will carry with me throughout my career. I'm extremely excited to see how my PLN will grow and what fun and innovative things I can add to it after I am finished with EDM310. I'm sure I will soon run out of room!

C4T #4 Education Rethink

Education Rethink

John Spencer
For C4K #4, I was assigned to the blog of Mr. John Spencer, titled Education Rethink. The most recent post from Mr. Spencer's blog was an interview with Nikhil Goyal. Mr. Goyal is an advocate for the student voice and is working to better education reform. He recently wrote a book, One Size Fits All, where he addresses issues with education and also mentions some solutions that could impact schools. In the interview, Mr. Goyal says that his motivation for writing the book was to demonstrate that the solution to education problems could be solved by putting forth the effort to see the perspective of the student. This is completely true. Like Mr. Goyal says later in the interview, we should make our schools real life; we should view what we teach from the perspective of the student. Are they following what I am teaching? Will the material that I am teaching apply to their lives? If it doesn't then we have only spat out information that will not stick with our students. Another excellent point that Mr. Goyal makes is that children are natural learners. He says that every human has some form of natural curiosity and internal creativity that teachers should hone in on.

In my comment to Mr. Spencer, I introduced myself as a student in Dr. Strange's class at the University of South Alabama. I also told Mr. Spencer that I appreciated his interview with Mr. Goyal and also Mr. Goyal's stance on education reform.

The second post from Mr. Spencer's blog was titled, "Schools Aren't Prisons". In this particular post, Mr. Spencer addressed school reformists who often associate schools with prisons. He states that he has heard arguments regarding why schools are evil and why teachers want to take students' dreams and that these arguments aren't necessarily true. Mr. Spencer says that he can see why students would view schools as a prison. Some have awful experiences and are given little to no choice in the classroom. However, he says that if we relate schools to prisons, we may also view homes as prisons and other structures and fates that we cannot change. Mr. Spencer argues that lack of choice does not exactly mean that children are being abused. I especially liked his statement, "Part of being in a community is adhering to the laws chosen.

In my comment regarding this particular post, I thanked Mr. Spencer for sharing his opinion. I told him that I could also see how children would view schools as prisons and that, as teachers, we must work to provide students with a choice and to allow their voices to be heard. Only then will learning flourish. In conclusion, I said that even though I could understand a child's perspective, I wasn't sure how an adult could view a school as a prison, other than structurally. With that being said, it's the teacher's responsibility to allow students to move about freely, to work independently and with groups, and to engage in learning. If the teacher does so, then students will not feel as restricted.

I've enjoyed reading Mr. Spencer's post and have learned that I appreciate his stance on school reform and the student voice. Mr. Spencer is often sarcastic in his writing, yet it positive and believes that students and their learning experience should be at the center of the school. The posts that I have read have all been enlightening and I can say that I have learned something from each one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blog Post #13

Back To The Future

I highly enjoyed watching Mr. Crosby's video, Back To The Future, which showcases several projects that his students have completed and how he implements technology into his classroom to bridge language and communication gaps. The reason that I enjoyed Mr. Crosby's video was because I have developed such an appreciation for the wonders of technology in the classroom over the course of my EDM 310 career. Mr. Crosby's zeal for teaching at risk, second language learners through technology has shown me that, even in the most difficult cases, technology can be used to allow students to reach the highest of potentials.

back to the future logo

Now that the end of the semester is approaching, I feel like I can really use technology in my classroom in many ways. At first, I was skeptical of the use of technology in my classroom because, quite frankly, I wasn't willing to try. By watching videos and reading posts assigned in EDM 310, I can now see that the implementation of technology is nothing to be afraid of! I can't wait to see how my future students will benefit from various tech tools and learn new ways of teaching with technology. Dr. Strange, now would be the appropriate time to say, "I told you so!"

Mr. Crosby is so inspirational to me because of his obvious care for the success of his students. Some teachers, if they were in Mr. Crosby's shoes, would do the minimal amount of work possible to make sure that their at risk, second language learning students passed the class. However, Mr. Crosby makes sure that all of his students learn reading, writing, and communication skills along with other various skills and he does so with the use of technology! By writing wikis, posting to blogs, and recording videos, Mr. Crosby's students learn not only the subject material but also communication skills that would, typically, be difficult for ESL learners. One more thing that stood out to me in the video was Mr. Crosby's effort to incorporate Celeste, a student with leukemia who was unable to come to class into his every day classroom routine. Mr. Crosby went above and beyond to video in Celeste so that she could see what was going on in class and complete the assignments just as her other classmates were doing. Mr. Crosby's class is a perfect example of how technology, along with a dedicated teacher, can greatly affect the outcome of students' success.

A Vision of Students Today

The video by Michael Wesch encompasses the idea of what it is to sit in a crowded classroom in a typical university. Many of the students provide facts regarding what their classroom is like and how they spend the majority of their time. Some of the scary, yet not so shocking, testaments included quotes such as, "18% of my teachers know my name," "my neighbor paid for class but never comes," and "this laptop costs more than some people in the world make in a year." I can relate all too well to this video. I have sat in many classes where I thought, "how will I use this material," and "what does it matter to me?" I have had many teachers that never knew my name nor cared to. Mr. Wesch's video shows what students really think about their learning experience.

Charlie Brown's teacher

As a future teacher it saddens me to think that classrooms today are full of students who feel as if their teacher doesn't care about their academic progress. I plan to teach elementary school, but even so, University professors should be concerned about their students' success. In today's growing society, it serves students no benefit to sit in a class and hear a lecture. Students today need to be engaged in what they are learning in order to produce greater rewards. However, it can be difficult to teach when students are on Facebook during class and some are not even showing up at all. At this point, it is the teacher or instructor's responsibility to realize that students will not participate in class if they are not engaged. Mr. Wesch's video should be viewed by all educators in hopes that they would see, from the students' point of view, what it is like to sit in an unengaged classroom. If teachers realized that a good number of students are interested in learning, I believe that teachers would be more willing to go above and beyond the minimal effort that some teachers give.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Progress Report on Final Project

My group, Kids R' Us, consists of myself, Victoria Kaplan, Alecia Baxter, and Shannon Watson. We communicate through e-mails, Google Docs, and texts. I have enjoyed getting to know these girls and know that they are all going to be great educators one day. For the most part, every project that we have completed has had 100% participation from each member. When first put into groups, I was worried that I would get a "bad" group, but I have to say that these girls have proven me wrong. I'm so thankful for them!

Our Final Project is coming along very well and I am very excited to see the finished result! We chose to do the short movie option and have decided on a "Dear Abby" style movie. Our video will consist of some common problems that students may face in EDM310 and also will be comprised of several silly questions to add a humorous touch. After each question is asked there will be an answer to each problem in order to help future EDM310 students. I am so excited to see the final outcome of this video. I know that, with the help of my group members, it will be great!

We have been communicating through Google Docs and have set up a script for our movie. We will record and finalize the week after Thanksgiving. I never thought I'd see the day, but we're almost there!

keep calm and make it to christams break quote

C4K Summary for November

Donavan's Blog

My first C4K, C4K #8, assigned in the month of November was to the blog of a 5th grader in Mr. Hagedorn's class named Donavan. His blog is called Donavan's Dynamite History Blog and is where he posts what he learns in Mr. Hagedorn's history class. The most recent post on Donavan's blog was called Johnny Appleseed. In this particular post, Donavan gave some facts about Johnny Appleseed whose real name was Johnny Chapman. From his post, I learned things about Johnny Appleseed that I didn't know. Since Donavan didn't say how Johnny got the last name Appleseed, I asked him why that was. Hopefully he will reply soon!

Alexander K.'s Blog

For C4K #9, I was assigned to read and comment on the blog of a student named Alexander in Mr. Spicer's class over at School of Rock. Alexander's most recent post was titled October Reflection and, in this post, Alexander summarized a few of his favorite things that his class did in the month of October. He said, first and foremost, he loved October because of Halloween but also because his class completed lots of fun projects. He mentioned a video chat with another school, reading The One And Only Ivan, writing scary stories, and creating a 13 colonies project. I was very impressed with a certain project that Alexander mentioned in which his class watched a video about a boy named Caine. Caine created a video game out of a cardboard box, eventually created lots of arcade games from boxes and ultimately set up his boxes for people to play. For awhile, Caine didn't have any visitors until one day a man came to his arcade and urged lots of other people to come play in the arcade. After watching the video, Alexander and his classmates got into groups and created their own arcade games from cardboard boxes. I was very impressed with this idea along with Alexander's insight and writing skills.

In my comment to Alexander, I told him that I really enjoyed reading his October Reflection. He was a great writer and kept his reader entertained. I also mentioned that, since I am planning to be a teacher, I liked learning about his class's different projects and what they are doing in class. I concluded my comment by asking Alexander how he came up with the idea for his arcade game, which was to create a labyrinth.

Devin's Blog

I enjoyed seeing and reading Devin's Blog, especially because he was a student of Ms. Martin's. It was great to see the progress of a former EDM310 student and how she was using blogging in her classroom. For C4K #10, I read Devin's latest post was a reflection of the book Speak. I told Devin that I wasn't familiar with the book, but that from his reflection, I could tell that it may be something that I would be interested in. I concluded my comment by encouraging Devin on his blogging journey.

boy on computer clip art

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Post #12

For Blog Post #12, we were asked to create an assignment that we thought Dr. Strange could have assigned to us in our area of study. I have to admit, I was quite excited about this assignment, however, extremely indecisive. I was excited because, well, the teacher within me likes to create assignments. But, I was indecisive because I know that I've learned about so many wonderful tools in this class, yet, I really don't know all that much about other tech tools. So, I started doing some research. I didn't go to Google or Bing, but I did go to a website that I visit on a daily basis. Pinterest!

Now, I know that everyone and their grandmother has a Pinterest these days. I use mine for finding recipes, gathering images that make me laugh, inspirational quotes, and many other things. One of the things that I've been doing lately has been "pinning" ideas for my future classroom. I have a "board" called For Future Reference where I place things that I find on Pinterest that I believe I could use in my classroom. So, for this assignment, it was only natural to go straight to the source where I knew I could find something useful to use for this assignment. Boy, did I ever?! There are a million and one links to information regarding educational technology. I couldn't decide on just one! So, with that being said, I decided to complete this blog post by exploring the wonders of Pinterest.

The assignment is:

1. Go to Pinterest and create an account. If you already have a Pinterest account, then you are ahead!
2. Create a board and title it, "Educational Technology"
3. Search for pins containing educational tools, ways to keep your classroom organized using technology, tech activities for students, SMARTboard lessons, anything you think would be useful in your classroom and involves technology. Also, keep in mind your area of study.
4. Pin AT LEAST 5 pins. I'm sure you could find many more, but pin at least five.
5. Once you have pinned 5 or more pins, choose the 5 that you have chosen or your top 5 favorites and write, in a blog post, a brief description of each pin and how it would be useful in the classroom.

I completed the assignment. You can find my Educational Technology board here. The top 5 pins from my board that I chose were:

1. Skyping With Authors
This pin is to a post on the blog of Jen Maschari where she lists several ways you can Skype with authors. In this link, Ms. Maschari tells about how her students are Skyping with authors of some of the books that they read in class. I think Skyping with authors would be a great idea to use in the classroom. Not only does it implement technology but it also brings books to life. Skype sessions with authors allow students to see what it is like to write books, find out what the author's purpose is, and to interact with the text that they are reading. I also think this would make reading more fun when children find out that authors are real people and it may inspire children to want to write their own stories.

2. 50 Education Leaders Worth Following
This pin is a link to an article on Edudemic that lists 50 inspirational and thought provoking educational leaders on Twitter. As I was scrolling, I was pleased to find out that I am already following several of the leaders on the list! At first, I didn't really understand why Dr. Strange was such a firm believer in Twitter, but throughout the semester I have come to realize that Twitter is an excellent tool to share and receive information from. This particular article lists 50 of the most influential leaders in education that are on Twitter. I think it would benefit any teacher to be on Twitter and this is a great list to get started with.

3. Top 5 Tech Tools for the Elementary Classroom
Amy over at The Polka Dot Apple has listed her top 5 tech tools to use in the elementary classroom. I enjoyed reading her lists because she mentioned tech tools that I had never heard of before. Kerpoof and Zooburst are two tools that sound extremely fun to use and would be a great way to get students interested in technology. Both are similar in the sense that you use each to create fabulous drawings or stories, yet, Amy says that Zooburst is more user friendly. Along with Symbaloo, a website that I've come to love, she also mentions Live Binder. Live Binder, like Symbaloo, keeps resources organized and allows you to see other user's binders. Lastly, the tool that I think I would enjoy the most would be Class Pager. This allows parents to text a number to receive classroom updates via text message. All of Amy's suggestions would be great to use in the classroom!

4. Jeopardy Generator
The Jeopardy Generator is a game that can be altered to fit the topics that you are learning in your classroom. This could be displayed on a SMARTboard, allowing students to form teams and take turns answering questions and gaining points. As the creator of your own game, you could adjust how many points you want to give for certain questions as well. Easier questions could be worth less points while more challenging questions are worth more points. This is a great way for children to learn information while interacting with technology.

5. Newspaper Generator
The Newspaper Generator allows students to create their own stories to become generated to look like an actual newspaper article. This would be a fun way to get students interested in writing and to encourage young writers as well. When the newspaper article is generated, you are given an embed code. Students could post their article in their student blog. This would be ideal to use when learning about different types of writing or journalism.

Pinterest logo

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog Post #11

Kathy Cassidy: SuperTeacher


After watching Ms. Cassidy's video, Little Kids...Big Potential, and also the Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy, I feel like I can finally see how I can use the tools learned in EDM310 in my future classroom. Ms. Cassidy makes using technology in the classroom look so simple and easily accessible as well as beneficial for students. I was so impressed with her students as well as her own zeal for technology and its advantage in the classroom.

In Little Kids...Big Potential, Ms. Cassidy gives viewers a look into her classroom and an overview of the amazing ways that she uses technology with her students. She approaches everything that the internet has to offer, in terms of education, and utilizes it to its full potential in her classroom. In the video, you can see how her students use blogs as an online portfolio of their work. Not only can Ms. Cassidy see their work, but readers from across the globe can access their blogs and leave comments. Her students say that they love to receive comments from people and not only do they gain communication skills but also their writing improves as they post to their blog. Students also have a webpage that they can access either at home or at school to find useful tools on the internet, to catch up on work, or to learn about something new. They also make use of wikis and are able to ask questions to people around the world in order to learn more about a certain topic. Ms. Cassidy's students make videos about what they learn and can post them to their blog and they also use Skype in order to talk to people in different places. Another technology that they use is the Nintendo DS. Yes, they use a Nintendo in class; it's for educational games of course! By using the DS they become better problem solvers and learn to share. Oh yea. Did I mention she does this with 1st graders? Talk about impressive!

The Skype interview with Ms. Cassidy answered a lot of the questions I had regarding technology in the elementary classroom setting. I've always been concerned with how I would protect my students but Ms. Cassidy says that she does so by keeping their last names private, by not putting children's names with a picture, and also by acquiring parental consent for children's work to be put on the internet. She said that parents were generally in favor of blogs and other technology because it allowed them to be able to view their child's work without scheduling a meeting. Another concern that I've had has been if my students would be able to use these tools or not. Of course, now I know that Ms. Cassidy teaches 1st grade, telling me that they are very capable of using the internet and other various technologies. Ms. Cassidy urges us to modify our material to fit the capabilities of our students. I have definitely noticed that children now seem to be born with the ability to work any device they are handed. Technology is not foreign to them and they are excited to use it in learning.

After watching Ms. Cassidy's video and the Skype interview, I can definitely see my vision for the use of technology in my classroom. I've wanted my own teacher blog for quite some time, but I believe that I will definitely utilize student blogs as well. It benefits students greatly to be exposed to the world of blogging and also exposes them to the world outside of the classroom. If a parent or administrator had a problem with this, I would try my best to show them the benefits of blogging. I could even show them Ms. Cassidy's class as an example. I also plan on showing my students how to create a PLN and allowing them to create their own. This would be a great way to organize their work as well as show their parents what they are working on. Also, I'd be in favor of creating a webpage for my student to access important information, to learn new things, and to catch up on their work just as Ms. Cassidy does. I may incorporate this in reading centers or during time in the computer lab. I plan to utilize all of the tools that Ms. Cassidy's class uses in my future classroom in some way or another. As Ms. Cassidy said, we are handicapping our students and ourselves if we do not use technology in our classroom. I'm now excited to implement technology into my classroom for the benefit of the future of my students.

Special Blog Assignment

"A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind"

In a recent USA Today article titled "A World Where Grades Will Be Left Behind", Mary Beth Merklein sits down with Sebastian Thrun to discuss the future of education. Thrun, a Google VP and professor at Sanford University, recently founded Udacity, a company that provides free, innovative, on-line courses to students who, while using the program, are allowed to work at their own pace. In this article, Thrun says that he imagines learning to be free and available to all, while offering a fun way to learn. Thrun also comments on his work with his recent artificial-intellegence course that drew a mass of students from around the world. He says that this experience was so life-changing that he cannot imagine himself in a traditional classroom any longer.

When describing how Udacity is created, Merklein says that producers work to create special effects and to capture shots of lessons drawn on whiteboards while staff members design and assemble courses. One course that the article points out is called Making Math Matter where students can complete a multitude of various game-style activities.

In regards to the future of education, Thrun says that he doesn't know where it will go, but that technology allows educators to better equip their students and also allows teachers to create more advanced curriculum. As far as his vision of online classes goes, grades will not exist, paces will be self-set, one class could enroll thousands of students, and instruction would be free. Thrun also believes that this would never end "brick-and-mortar" schools but would, instead, broaden schooling options to people around the world.

In the closing of the article, Merklein summarizes Thruns comparison of the evolution of stage theatre to that of big-screen movies along with traditional schools' hopeful evolution to grade-free, paper-free, technologically advanced classes. Eloquently said in the article, "Just as film enabled people all over the world to access movies, the Internet will democratize education."

report card

As a preservice teacher, after reading and re-reading this article and after thinking in terms of the future of students and of education, I have to say that I have mixed emotions regarding the author's arguments. At first glance, the notion of an education that is free, fun, and self-paced seems great. The idea that there will be no grades could, for some students, be wonderful. Some students are majorly affected by their grades. They worry more about what grade they will receive on a test rather than what they are actually learning and comprehending. Also, a "grade-less" classroom would allow students to learn to honestly reflect on their own work, how they think they've done and how much they understand. In my opinion, the idea of "no grades" wouldn't necessarily be a bad one.

Also, the fun, interactive curriculum could definitely work well for students. Many individuals learn and understand better if they can see a problem and a resolution actually solved using games or by interacting with their work. On another note, this concept could work for any age group. The games and activities would need to be catered to the age and intellectual capacity of the student while remaining challenging and producing end rewards. I believe that interactive curriculum is the best way to allow students to grasp what they are learning. This aspect, along with a "grade-less" classroom seems like a wonderful, innovative, and exciting idea to me.

On the other hand, I'm not entirely fond of a classroom without teacher/student interaction. Since the article only says that these classes would be "...taught by star professors," I'm not exactly sure how much interaction there would be between the teacher and the student. Granted, in college, teacher/student interaction is kept to a minimum. However, I have to look at this article personally and say that, since I will teach grade school age children, I'm not certain that little to no teacher/student interaction would be a great idea. In many education courses, professors encourage us to form relationships with our future students and, in my opinion, the programs outlined in the article take that relationship away. Again, this is personal. I'm aware that Mr. Thrun's students are of college age.

Even though I'm not 100 percent in favor of the idea of a grade-less classroom or Mr. Thrun's programs, the article does mention the efforts of Sal Kahn, whose "flipped classroom" I am very fond of. Quite possibly, the flipped classroom could be mingled with some of Mr. Thrun's policies to create an effective, working elementary classroom. Once again, as a preservice elementary teacher, I am in favor of several of Mr. Thrun's ideas outlined in the article and I believe they are wonderful ideas however, some I am not exactly sure of. That being said, I would love to learn more about Udacity and Mr. Thrun's programs in order to gain a better understanding of how these programs could work in a classroom.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

C4K Summary for October

Shane's Blog

Shane's latest post was titled, "Quality Of Life As A Grade Nine At P.W.A." Shane is a 9th grader at Peace Wapiti Academy in Canada. In this post, Shane described what his school was like. He said that the environment was safe and secure and that there were lots of good teachers and staff at his school. He also complimented the school's required gym time and said that he thought that it was a good idea so that students have more opportunity to be healthy. He concluded by asking the question, "What is your personal opinion about P.W.A.?" In my comment, I told Shane that I have never visited his school but that after reading his post I could tell that it was a good school to attend.

The Age of Exploration Blog

For C4K #4, I was assigned post #4 of the blog, The Age of Exploration. This blog is a compilation of posts from a 10th grade Modern World History Class taught by Mr. Mike Gwaltney at Oregon Episcopal School. Post #4 was written by a student, called themcpatrick (I couldn't find his actual name-I'm guessing it was Patrick.) entitled Group Work. This post, written by a 10th grader, was excellently written and even provided information that I would use with my students and even for myself.

He started by mentioning how group work can sometimes be difficult. Sometimes we deal with assertive personalities and sometimes students simply do not want to contribute their part. Other times you feel like you are doing all of the work while in some groups you remain shy. Either way, group work can be stressful if not done properly. In this post, themcpatrick created a list of guidelines to use in order to make group work more manageable. He says to start with a plan; just so you know what you're doing. Then he says to spend a reasonable amount of time doing research but not too much time and to make jobs that may take longer into individual assignments in order to break them down. In regards to personalities, he says to try not to change someone's personality, just work with what you have and to find a compromise. He also mentions making decisions, not always as a group, but as an indiviual. If the group doesn't like it, it can always be changed if needed. Also, he says not to focus too much on appearance; make it neat and presentable but not a piece of art. Lastly, he says to communicate, communicate, communicate!

I commented and told the author of the post that I enjoyed his idea and that I would use his guidelines in the future. I thought they were very helpful and very impressive for a 10th grade student.

Hannah's Blog

For C4K #5, I was assigned to a student in Mrs. Middleton's Class, named Hannah. The most recent post in Hannah's Blog centered around the topic of bullying. Admittedly, I first posted on Hannah's "About Me" because I overlooked the tab labeled "Journal" where blog posts were kept. I went back and posted on Hannah's most recent blog post to correct my mistake. Ooops!

Hannah posted on the topic of bullying after watching a video about a boy who was bullied in school. The child, a 7th grader, had been made fun of since he was in first grade and had been cutting himself and contemplating suicide for quite a while. Hannah summarized the video by saying that the boy made a video confronting his bullies and posted it on the internet. This way, he stood up to his bullies and also let his friends and family know what was going on in school. He said that after the video was posted he felt that a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. In her blog post, Hannah advocated taking a stand against bullying. She suggested to other students to tell a friend, teacher, or parent if they are ever feeling bullied. I was very impressed with her writing and thought she had a wonderful topic choice.

Macy's Blog

For C4K #6, I was assigned to Macy's blog, a student in Mrs. Peterson's 7th grade class. In her most recent blog post titled, "Outsiders Characterization: Darry" Macy wrote a description of the character, Darry, and his personality traits. She did so by pointing to his actions, his speech, and the author's description of the character.

In my comment I introduced myself to Macy telling her where I was from and that I was a college student at USA. I told her that I appreciated the hard work that was evident in her post and that her post was well written and very informative. She did a wonderful job for a 7th grader and I was very impressed. I told her that I, too, had read the book The Outsiders as a kid and asked if she liked the book and if she learned any valuable lessons from it.

Comments 4 Kids

Special Edition C4K

For C4K #7, we were to comment on Dr. Vitulli and Dr. Santoli's blog Eyes on Ireland. This blog documents their travels to Ireland to attend the Ireland International Conference on Education. I was assigned to comment on the blog post titled, "The Potato Fest Has Begun". I love reading about people's travels so I read the rest of the blog posts as well. I was so intrigued by their trip and found myself wishing I was there, too! In my comment, I told them to continue to have a wonderful trip, encouraged them to try lots of new Irish cuisine, to see many new sights, and to have a safe trip home.

C4T #3

21 Century Classroom: The Amaryllis

red amaryllis
This month I was assigned to the blog of Ms. Heidi Siwak, an award-winning, inspiring teacher in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ms. Siwak's students undertake all original projects involving technology and host the world's first student-led global Twitter chat on Hana's Suitcase. She says that her blog is "where I document our learning." I fell in love with Ms. Siwak's approach to learning and found her to be very inspirational.

Post #1

The most recent post on The Amaryllis was a guest post composed by Ms. Siwak's sister, Karen Siwak, regarding their father and the one prior was a compilation of photographs of Ms. Siwak's father. The post prior to the photographs was not about technology in the classroom or innovative learning but entitled, "One of My Greatest Teachers is Reaching the End of the Line" it was about her father, who was, in fact, reaching the end of his line. He had suffered for a while and believed that it was his time, so in his memory, Ms. Siwak bravely wrote about her dad.

Cliche, I know, but as I began to read this post, I sat at my computer and cried thinking about the teacher that my grandpa, the only father I've really known, has been to me. Ms. Siwak's father and my grandpa seem to be one in the same. Both hard workers, paid for everything with cash, self-taught, and would give anything to anyone that needed it. She expressed that she used to think he would do things just to make her mad, and often times I've thought that of my grandpa; now I know that it's because we posses such similar personalities. I feel like I could have scrolled down the page and gained a wealth of knowledge on teaching with technology or on critical thinking but instead, I just thanked her for sharing the story of her father. Sometimes our greatest teachers are not our school teachers but simply people that teach from their hearts.

Post #2

The second post in Ms. Siwak's blog that I commented on was titled, "Teach Kids the 'Game' of University Early". This post was written by Ms. Siwak in regards to her second daughter starting college soon and after a visit to a few universities. In Canada, they use a system of "marks" that I'm not entirely familiar with; from what I gathered, "marks" are similar to our grades. Marks given in 12th grade reflect highly when applying for college and a higher mark in a regular class is better than a low mark in an IB class. Ms. Siwak says that it would be beneficial for students to determine if the curriculum and hard work involved in an IB program would be worth the effort if IB was not recognized over regular high school classes. She also said that it may be beneficial for students to begin exploring their options earlier as opposed to waiting until the 12th grade.

I commented by saying that I agree that students should be guided earlier in secondary school in regards to college careers and life after high school. I explained that, had I not known what I wanted to do, my high school probably wouldn't have prepared me enough to make my decision. Earlier school observations and open houses would allow for better, more thorough planning as opposed to quick, spur-of-the-moment decisions being made.

Summary: The Amaryllis

I really enjoyed reading Ms. Siwak's blog more so than any others that I have read in EDM 310. She seems to be on top of technological advances and their uses in the classroom, while being informed and in touch with her students. Although I don't know that much about her, she seems like the type of teacher that I aspire to be. I want to be a teacher that is in-the-know, informed, and one that embraces technology and its benefits while still having a relationship with my students.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Blog Post #10

Papermate vs. Ticonderoga

John T. Spencer cartoon

Mr. Spencer's cartoon, posted in his blog "Adventures in Pencil Integration" is a mock of the "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC" campaign. I'm almost sure I understand the comic, but there may be an underlying meaning. Then again, I could be completely over-thinking the concept. This comic refers to a Papermate as cheaper, yet it breaks all the time. The Ticonderoga is a more expensive pencil and "the most expensive purchase a hipster will ever make." To me, a "hipster" refers to someone who often tries to swim against the current, not cautiously examining their decisions but simply trying to be different. The Papermate is "mainstream" and boring. I think you could tie this comparison in with technologically advanced teaching and "mainstream" education. Teaching with technology may be advanced, it may be more expensive, and it may be more work, but you and your students will benefit more from taking the road less traveled.

Adventures in Pencil Integration

The posts in Mr. Spencer's blog, Adventures in Pencil Integration, comprise a "satirical story" of an era in which common technology does not exist while going against the ideas of the "emerging, factory system of education." Mr. Spencer's posts can be difficult to understand if the reader is unsure of Mr. Spencer's objective. In my opinion, this is Mr. Spencer's way of critically examining common education and his effort to move towards 21st century education.

The post titled, Why Were Your Kids Playing Games is a dialogue between Tom Johnson, the main character, who, according to Mr. Spencer, "is searching for authentic learning" and the principal. In this posts, the principal receives word that Tom Johnson had been playing games in class rather that teaching. To Mr. Johnson, he was engaging his students, however, the principal was worried about meeting standards and believes that what Mr. Johnson is doing is a "stretch" from learning. The principal is focused on what the Drill and Skill Consulting Group (sounds a lot like "burp-back" education to me) thinks rather than the fact that Mr. Johnson wants to engage his students in learning.

To me, this scenario can be related to education today. Too often, teachers who are excited about learning and education get shut down because of local standards and dates, goals, etc., that have to be met. The principal in Mr. Spencer's Adventures in Pencil Integration could be compared with many principals today who are worried about how well their school will do on the next standardized test. In the case of Mr. Johnson, he, like many teachers, want to engage their students instead of drilling them with facts. However this is sometimes hard to do. Teachers must find a balance between what they have to teach and the methods that they want to go about doing so. At the end of this particular post, Mr. Johnson does just that. He incorporates what the principal told him to do with his own way of engaging his students. He called it "The Factory Game" which is what he was doing with his students to begin with.

I also read the latest post in Mr. Spencer's blog. It's title was "Remember Pencil Quests?". In this post, I wasn't completely sure if this was Tom Johnson speaking or Mr. Spencer himself. I'm thinking it's Mr. Spencer speaking because of the content of the post. In the beginning he is recalling a time in his schooling when students were sent on a Pencil Quest. He remembers being extremely excited just to be doing something outside of the common classroom setting. Even though now we look back at Pencil Quests as being simple, at least Mr. Spencer's teacher was attempting to do something that was innovative at the time.

Mr. Spencer's closing comment to this post surely made me think about the future. He said he wonders what students in the future will "...consider to be quaint." I also feel like my students, when they are adults, will look back at SMARTboards and blogs and feel as if they are simple classroom techniques. However, being an innovative and progressive teacher is what is important.

Admittedly, it took me a while to understand Mr. Spencer's blog. However, after reading about the context, characters, and conflict of his story, I was surprised by his clever idea. I thought this blog, although hard to read at first, is an excellent critique of modern schooling. Mr. Spencer is a bright man!

Don't Teach Your Kids This Stuff. Please?

woman sticking out her tongue
Mr. Scott McLeod is the Director of Innovation at Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency 8 and is the founder of the UCEA Center for Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE). He also hosts the website, Dangerously Irrelevant as well as several others.

I enjoyed reading the post assigned by Dr. Strange. This was a sarcastic punch to technology illiterate parents and educators. By reading this post, I gathered that Mr. McLeod is definitely in favor of technology in the classroom and believes that children who are exposed to the wonders of technology will have a better advantage over those who are kept from it. When I wrote my comment on Mr. McLeod's post and as I read the comments of other students, I was slightly amazed that some students missed the point of this post. Mr. McLeod was, by no means, saying that he was opposed to technology. His poem was summarizing some of the ideas that technology illiterate people posses and eventually stating that if these people wanted to keep their children away from technology then that was fine. However, he knows that his students and the students of other teachers who use technology proficiently in the classroom will have an advantage over the others.

SMARTboard Instruction Project #14

Friday, October 26, 2012

PLN Project #10 Progress Report

Screenshot of Taylor Davis' PLN

Above is a screen shot of the progress of my PLN. I am so very fond of PLNs and Symbaloo! I can't stand to be unorganized so with the help a PLN all of your regularly used sites are in one place. Also with Symbaloo, you can access specific resources at any time, making your PLN very convenient. Symbaloo can be customized for any individual's needs and can be made public or private. You can choose wether you want to create your own mix of websites and resources or if you'd like to share your resources with individuals with the same common interests.

So far, my PLN is coming along quite nicely. I've added the majority of the tools that Dr. Strange suggests that we use, like BeFunky, Diigo, and Delicious. Also, I've added websites that I use regularly such as Pinterest and YouTube as well as educational sites to benefit teachers, for example, PBS Teachers and Teacher Tube. I can't wait to see how much more I can add to my PLN as the semester goes on and even in my teaching. I'm certain that I will use my PLN regularly in the future.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog Post #9

I enjoyed reading the posts written by Mr. McClung in the blog, At The Teacher's Desk. For the assignment, we were to read 2 out of 4 of Mr. McClung's reflective post, one being Version 4. Since I am a person who has always pictured myself being a teacher, it was exciting to read real life examples of classroom experiences. Mr. McClug's zeal for teaching and learning is one to be admired. I enjoyed Mr. McClug's reflections and found myself reading all four of the recommended posts. These were all of value to me so I quickly added his blog to my PLN.

First, I read the post referring to Mr. McClung's first year of teaching. As the day that I take my first classroom approaches, reality sets in and, naturally, I'm quite nervous. Excited, but nervous! With that being said, I diligently read what Mr. McClung had written, taking every piece of advice to heart. I'm definitely a people-pleaser. I can't stand to have anyone mad at me, or disappointed in me, or judging me. However, when I begin teaching I will have to realize that it is about what my students and superiors think of me rather than what my peers think. Mr. Clung advises teachers to communicate-with peers, superiors and students in order to build relationships and resolve workplace drama. Among this, he also said to embrace technology and to be reasonable when dealing with students.

Mr. McClung's advice to read the crowd and be to be flexible stood out to me the most. Once again, it's all about the kids. He says to let your audience drive your lessons and not to panic when your "perfect lessons" don't go as planned. These are all facts that I know I need to remember. To me, it's so easy to get lost in planning the perfect lesson that you think other teachers would like when, in actuality, your expectations cannot be too high. Children are going to let you down when they don't meet the expectations that you had for them. Mr. McClung says to work with the mistakes that happen wether those are your mistakes or a student's mistake. All of this information is so valuable for beginning teachers. I know when my first year of teaching comes, I'll be re-reading this post to make sure that I am on track.

Version 4 of Mr. McClung's posts was also very valuable. He reiterates some of the facts stated in Version 2 and Version 3 of his reflective posts. Staying true to yourself and who you are as a teacher and the desire to challenge yourself are two great pieces of knowledge that he shares. I loved Mr. McClung's one rule: "are the kids having fun". I believe that sometimes we get consumed with what we think has to be discussed in lessons and what we are "supposed" to teach that we miss some "teachable moments". Ms. Wilson, the 4th grade teacher that I am currently observing always tells me to embrace those times. If an outsider walked into her classroom they would see kids around the room and would, most likely, think that her class was in chaos. Realistically, she is embracing every child's specific needs while still being an outstanding teacher to the class. I've learned so much from her in the short months that I've been in her class. She and Mr. McClung believe in reading the crowd and being flexible. Of course, we have to stay on track but most of the time we have to go with the flow of our students. It's difficult to do this while keeping the focus but I think it's so valuable to students to know that their teacher really is concerned about them.
keep calm and pretend this is on the lesson plan

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blog Post #8

Richard Miller: This Is How We Dream

Mr. Miller raised several thought provoking points in his videos, This Is How We Dream, parts 1 and 2. I thought his ideas were very similar to those that Dr. Strange encourages us to think upon and to consider incorporating into our future classrooms. Although EDM 310 has opened my eyes and given me a whole new appreciation for technology, I did find Mr. Miller's videos to be a bit difficult to understand; this is most likely because technology is so advanced that we can't fully wrap our minds around it. Mr. Miller even said so himself when he stated, "The kind of composing that lies ahead is only one I can point to." However, I think it is fantastic to be aware and mindful of the future of technology and what we can do with technology today.

Since the beginnings of the school, teachers have had the biggest influence on children. Everything in the classroom, as Mr. Miller mentioned, revolved around books, pencils, and paper. I'll be the first to say that I do not believe technology can replace everything, and I do not think that I am wrong for thinking that way. However, it is clear that technology is becoming more dominant than standard paper and pencil. YouTube, iBooks, Smartboards, iPads, and Kindles are being used every day in classrooms around the world. I have a niece and nephew who are encouraged to bring their Kindles to school, only for academic use, of course. It is not hard to imagine a world prevalent with web-based learning systems and paperless books. Mr. Miller eloquently describes incremental and fundamental changes in technology and how it benefits the world that we live in. It is so very important for teachers to be mindful and knowledgable of the technology that could be useful in the classroom.

In Mr. Miller's videos, he describes incremental and fundamental changes taking place in technology today. He remarks on the use of laptops, word processing, messaging, collaborating without seeing one another, or researching without stepping foot in a library; these are all incremental changes. Fundamental changes are what comes from these incremental changes. Although I find it difficult to fathom, there are even newer technological advances to come. Mr Miller's quote, "Limits and restrictions are largely ones we place on ourselves," really stuck out to me. I've been guilty of limiting myself, even in EDM 310, when all the while, I could have soared if I would have allowed myself to step outside of the box. It is mandatory that teachers try new ideas and new concepts, especially in the aspect of technology.

writing in multi media cartoon
Carly Pugh's Blog Post #12

I was very impressed with Carly's blog post! Her zeal for education is contagious! In writing this blog post and creating an assignment that she thought Dr. Strange would assign, she went above and beyond. I was so impressed with how many different and valuable links she added and with the amount of effort put into her post. The idea of a playlist is a great tool for teachers to use in their classroom whether for educational purposes or sheer inspiration. I think I'll make mine starting...now!

Carly comes about as close as possible to Dr. Miller's hopes for writing with multi-media. Writing with multi-media isn't simply a paper written with word processor or completed with the use of the web, but instead implementing different technological outlets, in this case YouTube, to create something of value. I think using unexpected tools to write with multi-media is the whole purpose of what Dr. Miller explains. Carly does a great job of doing so! Her assignment was well thought out, extensive yet enjoyable, and she perfectly embodied Dr. Miller's idea of writing with multi-media. If he read her post, I think he would be proud!

The Chipper Series and EDM 310 For Dummies

I had already watched the videos The Chipper Series and EDM 310 for Dummies but when I re-watched, I found myself laughing again and again. Let me just say, I'd pay serious money for a copy of EDM 310 for Dummies! Really. In EDM 310, especially in the beginning, you do feel like a dummy and I, for certain, have gotten a little crazy. However, along the way, you find out that the class isn't as awful as you assumed it to be and that you learn valuable lessons as you go. When students watch the videos at the beginning of the semester they may be slightly frightened-I know I was-but when you watch the videos later on, they allow you to appreciate all of the hard work that you've put forth in EDM 310 and value everything that you have learned.

EDM 310 for Dummies
If I were to create a video, wether it be for EDM 310, or for some type of instruction, I'd love to incorporate music into it. I think music is a great tool that can be used widely in education. You have to admit, after you hear a catchy tune a few times, it's hard to get it out of your head. It's also something that has virtually no technological boundaries. There are so many ways to technologically incorporate music into videos, classroom instruction, even Smartboard lessons. There are no limits to what you can do with music, even as an educational tool.

Learn to Change, Change to Learn

To me, this video reiterates what Dr. Strange teaches us in EDM 310. I will admit, at the beginning of the semester, I wasn't very willing to change. However, over the course of the semester with Dr. Strange pushing us and urging us out of our own comfort zones, we have learned so much that we probably would have never known of had we not taken the class. Even worse, we may have had to use technology that we wouldn't know how to use without the help of Dr. Strange and the EDM 310 lab staff.

There were many quotes in the video that stood out to me. One was made by a man that said we must, "accept that technology is not a choice." As educators, we are to equip our students with the knowledge that will benefit them out in the real world. One day our students will, more than likely, have a job that we've never imagined possible using technology that doesn't exist. It is a necessity, not an option, that teachers teach technology and use it generously in their classroom.

Another was made by a lady that said, "it's about providing the best quality teachers no matter where a student lives and making those bridges." I thought her quote really spoke to me. While in EDM 310 the question that I've asked myself the most is, "How will this affect my students?" I've also wondered how my students will have access to certain types of technology and I've come to realize that it isn't about having access to these tools, but teaching how resourceful they can be. It's my job, as the teacher, to bridge gaps between my students and their futures.

be the change

Scavenger Hunt


PollEverywhere is a great site for creating polls that you can use, answer, and see responses through the web and through text. I could definitely see myself using this tool in the future and possibly on my teacher blog to receive feedback from parents. Check out my first poll here!


Prezi, the tool used in this video, has great slide enhancing technology that would bring any classroom project or presentation to life. With very low rates, teachers and students have the ability to make their presentations extraordinary. The free "Edu Enjoy" plan offers Prezi's core features, along with 500 mb of storage space, the ability to make your presentations private, and the right to use your own logo if you so choose. For only $4.92, the "Edu Pro" plan offers all of the features of the "Edu Enjoy" plan while granting access to Prezi's premium support and Prezi Desktop, an offline tool. With these low rates and easy to use instructions there are no reasons for teachers to have boring presentations any longer. I would love to use Prezi for my future classroom!


Animoto is an internet video tool that allows users to upload video clips, photographs, music and a variety of other things and allows you to add effects and cinematic technology. Animoto also offers free Animoto Plus account for teachers and educators to use in the classroom. I think this would be a great tool to utilize in the future.

Monday, October 15, 2012

C4T #2


For my C4T #2 assignment, I was assigned to Frank Noschese's blog, Action-Reaction. Mr. Noschese is a high school Physics teacher at John Jay High School. In his blog he said that he believes that "students learn best when they are actively engaged in physics through activities such as reading, discussing, experimenting, and solving problems." From what I gathered, he is a very active teacher who is passionate about Physics and helping his students learn.

C4T #2 Comment 1

The first blog post that I read by Mr. Noschese was called, "VPython Screencasts". In this post, he tells about an assignment that he gave his students. They were to make a screencast, a virtual walk-through showing what is actually on screen, explaining their VPython programs. The students were to use Screencast-o-matic to explain the way that the VPhython program worked and its reasonings. Mr. Noschese said that he gave this assignment not only to help students learn how and why something works the way that it does, but also to give himself insight as to who was lagging behind and who was excelling in this area of subject.

In my comment, I introduced myself as a student at the University of South Alabama and complimented Mr. Noschese on his blog post. I said that I thought his idea of using screencasts as a learning tool was a great idea. I also mentioned that not only did the students' creation of screencasts help him know who was behind and who was ahead, but it also taught the students a useful technology skill and also a communication skill.

C4T #2 Comment 2

For this week, Mr. Noschese hadn't posted anything recently, so I went back to the most recent post prior to the last one I had commented on. Entitled Metacognition Curriculum , this post was a basic outline of the curriculum that Mr. Noschese was teaching his students. He said that he was attempting to introduce his students to metacognitive processes and the fact that our brains can grow neurons as we age. He taught that intellectually stimulating environments and activities can work to make learning easier.

His curriculum consisted of an in-class survey simply asking student opinions on certain, science/metacognitive topics. They're answers could range from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Also, he provided the class with a packet consisting of articles, an infographic, and a final questionnaire. Also he showed a video and afterwards had students answer questions in groups on white boards. They were to write one thing that they learned, one thing that they were surprised to find out and one question that they still had after watching the video.

In my comment, I expressed to Mr. Noschese that, even though metacognitive processes weren't my area of study, I did appreciate his style of teaching. I love his student centered approach and the fact that he teaches his students in a hands-on manner. I think the best way to teach students is through experience. I expressed my appreciation to Mr. Noschese in my comment. I liked reading his posts for C4T #2; even though I am not planning to teach older children, his style and zeal for teaching is inspiring.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blog Post #7

The Networked Student

When I watched The Networked Student for Blog Post #7 assignment I tried my hardest to keep an open mind. Last week I received an eye opening comment from Dr. Strange regarding Blog Post #5. At first, my defensive, perfectionist side came out and thought, "Does he know how long it took me to complete this post?", "Why is Dr. Strange calling me out?", "All I did was state my opinion; why is that so bad?" Then I realized, "Taylor, he is helping you!" So with this assignment, I was sure that I wasn't going take Dr. Strange's comment lightly and that I would keep an open mind when completing future assignments. Now, let me say that I have always considered myself open-minded and have always been willing to try new things. However, after receiving Dr. Strange's comment, I realized that I wasn't taking the whole "tech literate" teacher thing seriously. It wasn't that I was afraid of creating a podcast, or publishing something in iBooks, or any of the other tech savvy projects that Dr. Strange assigns, but that I wasn't willing to step out of my comfort zone and take the plunge.

the networked student
After watching and re-watching The Networked Student, I could not help but think of my college career today. Most of my classes involve some sort of internet component and some are even completely online. EDM 310, especially, resembles the set-up of the high school class referred to in the video with the teacher acting as a guide to help students communicate and find good information to help them on their intellectual journey. I probably see Dr. Strange, face-to-face, less than any of my other teachers, yet I feel more connected to him than I do the others because he is always willing to help and has no problem communicating with students. No, I'm not trying to get on his "good-side", but he has honestly made me sit back and think about what I am doing and the path that I am going to take. It is so important for 21st century teachers to be "tech literate" and I definitely do not want to be left behind.

The theory of connectivism, the idea that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties, is a great idea that enables students to become self-motivated learners while still receiving guidance from a teacher when needed. I think this is so very important, especially in high school grades, because they leave with a better idea of what college will be like. The question, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?" is, to me, very easy to answer. I think of myself and my classmates in EDM 310 as "networked students", yet without the guidance of Dr. Strange and the assistants, we would all probably be lost. A teacher in a networked class is there for assistance and the extra push that we all need somewhere down the road. I know I have learned more in EDM 310 than I have in any other class and it's because the work is hands-on and we have a teacher who has taught us skills that most of us would have never been knowledgable of before. I am positive that the use of technology in the classroom is inevitable and extremely beneficial to the future of our students.

Even though I think the concept of connectivism and the networked student is a great idea, while I was watching the video I did have one concern that has generally been my concern with several concepts this semester. "How would this work for lower elementary age children?" My dream is to have a classroom full of crayons and glue while teaching children the joys of getting lost in a book and learning how to use math in everyday life. These skills, although simple, are very important. I think kids should be allowed to just be kids and I do not believe that there is anything wrong with that! With that being said, I know that technology is becoming more and more powerful in society and we must keep up with its changes.

Now I think I have answered my own question of "how would the "networked student" concept work for lower elementary age children?". The answer is to modify the material to meet the intellectual capabilities of these students and offer more assistance from the teacher than you would for a high-school aged class while still allowing students to learn on their own. For example, a class blog instead of individual student blogs while still allowing students to post to the class blog if they desire. Another is a class Twitter instead of individual accounts. This would allow students to connect with people from around the world, yet cut out some of the pressure that may come with an individual account. I love the idea of a student-centered class where the students learn from experience and bring prior knowledge into the classroom. I do not think that children are ever to young to become independent learners and creating them to be "networked students" is a great way of guiding in that direction.

A 7th Graders Personal Learning Environment

A PLE, or PLN is something that I can definitely appreciate! I feel so much more peaceful about my work when it is all organized and a PLN keeps documents, websites, and other internet tools all in one spot. I think the 7th grader's PLN in the video is much more complex than mine is, but I'm sure after EDM 310 my PLN will be very effective and something that I plan to utilize throughout my career.

The statement made by the 7th grader, "I really like learning this way because we get more freedom," doesn't necessarily pertain only to a PLN, but to the concept of the "networked student." This statement really made me dig deep and think about the effect of networking on the student more so than on myself. Children desire to have freedom. Most children that have no freedom rebel, so I'm a firm believer in trusting children and allowing them to have freedom. Learning is no different. Allowing students to freely complete their assignments could easily result in more work being completed and possessing better quality. Another reason I appreciate and plan to use PLN's in the future is because they allow teachers to see their students' work all in one spot. Instead of mounds upon mounds of papers to grade, with a PLN papers can be viewed and graded online instead of as a hard copy. I love the PLN for many reasons, these just being a few, and I look forward to using this tool in the future!

the connected student

Friday, October 5, 2012

Blog Post #6

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

The Randy Pausch videos assigned in EDM 310 have, quite possibly, been the most influential assignments, to me, so far. I love Dr. Pausch's zeal for life and his effort to be inspirational. He is a man with every reason to be down or upset, yet he focuses on the positive things in life and reaches out and encourages others to do the same. I believe that if we all took a glimpse at Dr. Pausch's life and aspired to develop at least one of his good qualities then the world may look a little brighter. In his last lecture, Dr. Pausch displayed his positivity and courage even as he reached the end of his ever-meaningful life.

Randy Pausch, being the brilliant man that he was, accomplished so much in his life. From being a renowned professor to a Disney Imagineer, he achieved goals that many of us could never dream of. We could easily feel sympathy towards Dr. Pausch, seeing that he was sick, however, I don't believe that he wanted people to feel pity for him. He was a firm believer in living life to it's fullest potential and stretching its boundaries. In watching Dr. Pausch's last lecture and the previous lectures assigned, I have gained a new outlook on life. I've always thought that I was a positive person, and I still believe that I am, but I haven't always been willing to push the envelope. As teachers, we can gain a great deal from listening to and receiving Dr. Pausch's words of wisdom. It is so important as we gain our own classrooms to be positive and encouraging to our students and to keep our minds open just as he encourages others to do.

Dr. Pausch, a seasoned professor, stressed the importance of pushing your students. He said that he was teaching once and realized all of his students were meeting requirements but were not excelling as he would have liked. He then asked a mentor for help and his mentor said, in essence, instead of raising the bar, do not set a bar. This is so true! If you give students a bar, most will rise to it, but will not always go above and beyond. I think, in my future classroom, I will encourage students to step outside of the box. There is always room for greater, always another star to shoot for. Like Dr. Pausch, I do not believe that we can discourage that!

Another point that Dr. Pausch made that I found to be quite simple, yet profound, is the concept of the "head fake". The "head fake" is the notion of indirect learning and Dr. Pausch says that most learning is, in fact, indirect. I, honestly, had never really pondered on indirect learning but Dr. Pausch so eloquently encourages the "head fake" as does Dr. Strange. Both of these men believe in giving assignments that emphasize stepping outside of our own personal boundaries and they push their students to do their best even if it is a little uncomfortable. Dr. Pausch's quote, "Brick walls are there for a reason; they let us prove how badly we want things," is so true. Sometimes as students, as teachers in the future, or even in everyday life, we will face "brick walls". Overcoming these walls will only make us stronger. My favorite quote is, "Always shoot for the stars; even if you miss you will land among the clouds." This isn't a quote from Dr. Pausch, to my knowledge at least, but I believe that it does correspond with Dr. Pausch's ideas. Aiming high has two outcomes: you can achieve your goals, or you can learn something along the way. I believe that I will try my best to encourage my students based on the notion of the "head fake" when they believe that they have failed. There is always something good that can come when you look at things positively and I believe children should be taught this at a young age.

I do think that I could go on and on when writing about Dr. Pausch; I find him to be fascinating! I can only imagine how his own students felt about him. Even though there are many, many things we can take from Dr. Pausch, what I gained most from him is to simply be the best "you" that you can be. He says that we choose to be a "Tigger or an Eeyore" meaning that we choose to be happy, bouncy, and fun, like Tigger, or we could be mopey and down-in-the-dumps like Eeyore. I want my peers, coworkers, family, and especially my students to see me as a Tigger. Just a few of the lessons that Dr. Pausch says that he learned throughout life are:

"Have FUN"
"Help others"
"Don't bail"
"Do the right thing"
"Don't complain; just work harder" and
"Find the best in everyone"

I think that if we do these things and live by Dr. Pausch's words as rules and guidelines to life and teaching then we have no reason to fail. Always be encouraging and uplifting to your students and watch how they blossom. Push students to aim higher. Dr. Pausch himself said, "One of the best gifts and educator can give is to get someone to be reflective." I know I will try my hardest to push students to learn on their own and to reflect on their own hard work. Dr. Pausch's aspiring life and words of profound, yet simple, wisdom would make us all better teachers, better students, better parents, and ultimately better people.

Monday, October 1, 2012

C4K Summary for September

Hannah's Blog

The first C4K that I was assigned to was a blog called Hannah's Hacienda written by a child in Ms. Yollis's class. Hannah's most recent blog post was a bout a horseback riding trip that she took with her Girl Scout troop. The trip was through the hills of the Santa Monica mountains and instead of the girls picking their horses, the horses chose their riders. Hannah said that the guides told the girls that if a horse paid attention to them or made eye contact with them then the horse wanted them as its rider. The first horse, named Gambler, chose Hannah right away and off through the mountains their troop rode.

I started my comment by introducing myself, telling Hannah my purpose for commenting on her blog and then complimenting her on her great use of bright, eye catching colors and her quality blog post. I told Hannah that I also liked horses but had never rode horseback. I think I would probably be a big chicken, so I told Hannah that in my comment and concluded by asking her if she was afraid the first time she rode a horse.

Broneq's Blog

The next C4K that I was assigned to was the blog of a Year 5 student named Broneq at PT England School in Auckland, New Zealand. Broneq's most recent post was about the Olympics. Even though his grammar was not the greatest, Broneq was enthusiastic in his post and it was evident that he was really interested in the Olympics. He told what he thought the Olympics were about said that "you have to run to win a medal."

I started by telling him where I was from and that I enjoyed reading his blog post. I asked him if he had ever watched the Olumpics on television and I also asked what sports he was interested in playing. I concluded my comment by stating, "I wonder if those sports are played in the Olympics."

blog word art

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Blog Post #5

Travis Allen- The iSchool Initiative

In this video, Travis Allen, a then 17 year old, talks about his idea called the iSchool Initiative. The iSchool Initiative embraces the notion of a "paperless" classroom. If a school were to use Travis's idea then every child would need an iTouch to hold textbooks, homework assignments, etc. Travis argues that, with the iSchool, less money would be spent because, basically, everything that a student would need could be purchased as an app. Take, for instance, scientific calculators. Most high school students are required to have a scientific or graphing calculator and if a student was enrolled in a school participating in the iSchool Initiative, then they would have their calculator on their iTouch. Other useful apps that are mentioned in the video include Chemical Touch, an informative periodic table, U.S. Constitution, a digital copy, WorldWiki, where they could access maps and globes, and various other helpful and resourceful apps. Also, the iTouch's basic apps would come in handy. The email application would allow teachers, students and parents to send and receive homework assignments, schedules, grades, etc. while the Notes app would work for student to use in class as opposed to a pencil and paper.

Call me old school but for elementary age students I don't believe that the iSchool Initiative would work. However, if I were a high school or even middle school teacher, I would seriously consider talking to my principal about participating in a trial of the iSchool Initiative. I think it's a great idea that would keep students engaged and even organized. I know, personally, it was hard as a high schooler to keep all of my papers, tests, assignments, books, and everything else that could possibly fit in a book-bag, together. With the use of the iTouch, everything that students need would be in the palm of their hand. I also love the fact that their iTouch would be limited to only educational sites and that students and teachers would be totally accountable for assignments and grades. This would promise that students wouldn't be able to access sites that were distracting and did not pertain to their studies.

In the other video, I learned that Travis and a group of 25 college students travel to schools educating principals and teachers about the iSchool Initiative. Some schools have already adopted Travis's plan. Overall, I think the iSchool Initiative would be a great way to integrate more technology into a 21st century classroom to promote more flexible learning styles that adhere to every student's individual needs.

Eric Whitaker's Virtual Choir

While watching this video, I sat with dropped jaw, staring at the computer. I'll go ahead and say that I'm not a person that just "gets" technology; I wasn't born with that gift. So when I watched this video, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that this 2052 member choir, performing Lux Aurumque, was all recorded over the internet. And the fact that they had never even met and rehearsed in person? That blew my mind! I thought this was a really cool way to use the internet. It's obvious that it took a lot of thought, time, and effort.

Teaching in the 21st Century

In the video, Teaching in the 21st Century by Kevin Roberts, John Strange version, Roberts' ideas are expressed throughout the whole video. He believes that, in a 21st century classroom, teachers should be teaching skills to go along with the facts that they are given to teach. In this day and age, students can find information anywhere and Roberts believes that it is the classroom teacher's job to be the "filter". Roberts believes that teachers need to teach students how to handle information that they find outside of class. These concepts include validating information, communicating with others through the internet, and analyzing information that they find. He believes that teachers should teach skills instead of only facts so that students will know how to make life decisions and will be able to use their knowledge outside of the classroom. Another point that Roberts makes concerns technology in schools. He believes that teachers should teach technology because it makes up most of the world today. Roberts says, in essence, that teachers should teach students to be knowledgable not only of facts, but also of skills, and that it is the responsibility of the 21st century teacher to do this.

I believe that Roberts' ideas are correct. I think it is so important, especially now, for a teacher to be relevant. We must not only drill children with facts but be able to equip students with outside knowledge that they need for life skills. The point that I liked the most that Roberts made was when he posed the question, "How do you manage technology?" He said that you manage technology in the classroom the same way that you manage a pencil and paper. Any tool will provide temptation to students but with proper discipline, any tool, especially technology, can be effective. I agree with Roberts on the fact that classroom materials must be engaging for students. Even in my small Sunday School class, I've realized that children are simply not interested in learning if it doesn't involve some kind of technology. They are around it all the time and school should not be any different. Teachers must teach meaningfully in the 21st century and that means being relevant and engaging.

Flipped Classroom

I loved watching the videos by Katie Gimbar, Dr. Lodge McCammon, and Ms. Munafo, regarding the Flipped Classroom. I had never heard of the Flipped Classroom but I think it is a great idea especially for higher grade levels, and individualized subject classrooms. I think it would be most beneficial for older students because there may be a little too much responsibility involved for younger children. However, for middle and high school grades, maybe even 4th or 5th, I think the Flipped Classroom is how every classroom should be! It teaches students, not only facts and information, but also responsibility and communication. If I were a middle or high school teacher I would definitely use the Flipped Classroom. It would involve lots of work, but I think the outcomes would be rewarding.

the flipped classroom